Welcome to the Freight Industry September Roundup, a series of articles where we gather breaking news and important information from the Logistics Industry and add our unique perspective to it. Why waste time searching for news yourself when we do all the work for you? Enjoy!
Retailers Wrestle With Consumers’ Desires to Shop Anywhere and Anytime
In the August roundup I talked about how big box retailers are rising to the e-commerce challenge by leveraging existing retail footprints and building dedicated fulfillment centers. This month a survey by HRC Advisory finds that retailers still have a long way to go primarily because systems and infrastructure are outdated.
Competing with pure-play e-commerce retailers and accommodating the multitude of new fulfillment options requires a significant increase in supply chain flexibility and better integration between the physical store and e-commerce network, says HRC Advisory President Farla Efros.
Channeling the Brick and Click Dilemma
We see more pressure on retailers and distribution centers to deliver quick, inexpensive shipping options that align with customer expectations, notes Curt Bimschleger, managing director, retail logistics for GENCO, a Pittsburgh-based 3PL. Many times this means leveraging a ‘ship from store’ option. Within this option, inventory has to be in the right place to meet delivery expectations, he adds. Retailers are looking at brick-and-mortar stores as ‘mini’ warehouses to better manage product flow and ensure they provide consumers with unique options for both direct-to-consumer shipments and returning items.
The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 2015 documents very well changing consumer behavior and is required reading for any retailer developing an Omni Channel Retail strategy.
The supply chain is in flux and retailers are trying hard to figure out what they need to do and still remain in business. Seems to me like they need some help from the professionals – the 3PL community.
Ohio River Traffic Jam Delays Grain Shipments
A traffic jam of over 800 boats and barges had formed along a stretch of the Ohio River, as maintenance work tied up one of the busiest domestic shipping routes for grain, coal and other natural resources. Delays related to infrastructure maintenance at the Ohio River’s lock 52 have cost the tow boat and barge operations industry $46.5 million since 2013.
It was 2013 when the American Society of Civil Engineers released their latest scorecard issued every 4 years and gave the nation a D+. Their estimated investment in infrastructure needed by 2020 was $3.6 trillion.
The government seems to be aware of this and does a good job of letting us know they are aware of this, but maybe I’m getting too cynical in my old age. I need to be convinced that maintenance and development of our nation’s infrastructure will keep pace with the demands placed on it by our economic growth. Anybody out there prepared to convince me?
It’s Time for Logistics to ‘Uberize,’ Say Industry Experts
When it comes to the business of moving goods from one point to another, there’s one firm that insiders say is shaking up the logistics industry — and it’s not even in logistics.
“It’s all about Uber,” Brett Parker, co-founder and president of Cargomatic, told attendees Monday at the 2015 Intermodal EXPO hosted by the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).
Cargomatic targets a specific and sometimes ignored supply-chain niche: the local or, at most, regional shipment. The “Silicon Beach” company matches truckload and less-than-truckload shipments with available truck capacity in Los Angeles and New York.
Essentially the service matches shippers with carriers using an “uber” like app. Shippers are happy because their goods are delivered fast, reliably and cost efficiently. Carriers are happy because they get to utilize the extra space they have in their trucks. A win-win for both parties.
Mankind’s Largest Supply Chain
I started thinking about the supply chain challenges an expedition to Mars would present and did some research. I discovered the infographic below courtesy of Florida Tech University Online on NASA’s supply chain.
So you 3PL folks out there trying to squeeze every last cent of cost efficiency out of your supply chain, think about this:
It costs $690,000 to transport one gallon of water to the moon.
I’m not sure what the profit margins are on that but SpaceX is planning a manned expedition to Mars in 2027. That should give you plenty of time to work out a profitable supply chain strategy once colonization of the Red Planet starts. Here’s some data to get you started:
Break Bulk Americas Convention
We are exhibiting at the forthcoming Break Bulk Americas convention in Houston TX. I’d welcome the opportunity to meet with you there and discuss how we can serve you transloading needs.
If you can’t wait or aren’t attending you can always call me at (505) 908 1911. I’d love to talk to you!
Thanks for reading. If you have any suggestions on what you would like me to cover next month mention it in the comments below.